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Engineering / Construction

Trim Tab 24 / Net zero water at Bertschi School

  Trim Tab v 24  The Water Issue – Winter 2015 issue of the International Living Future Institute’s quarterly digital magazine focuses on water, on “people and projects that are rethinking how water is used in the built environment…” Among its many good articles is one called Bertschi School: The Water Petal about the science …

John Kormeling’s up and down bridge

            Up and down with John Kormeling – one-page article in Mark #46 (Oct/Nov 2013, page 32) about architect John Kormeling’s bridge in the Dutch city of Tilburg.  It’s designed with a small building that serves as counterweight.  Kormeling designed the building as both bridge master’s house and …

Super-light materials / Ideas at Davos

    Hierarchical Design & Solar Panels: A World Economic Forum Discussion –  in this 3-min video clip Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer explains how hierarchical design can help create very light-weight materials – “up to 99% air, but that yet retain the high stiffness and high strength of their …

No-nails structural wood – Shigeru Ban’s Tamedia office building

  Shigeru Ban: Tamedia office building in Zurich completed – new seven-story office for Swiss media company sited along the Sihl Canal consists of an interlocking wooden structure within a glass skin.  The architect was inspired by both the vernacular Swiss use of wood and techniques of Japanese joinery.  The …

Most unusual data centers

  Infographic: Nine most unusual data centers in the world –  take a graphic tour of data centers that are out of the ordinary because of siting (an abandoned nuclear bunker, a WWII anti-aircraft platform, inside a mountain), portability (using shipping containers), cooling methods (one uses the entire lower floor …

Curry Stone Design Prize winner – Hunnarshala

Hunnarshala, Bhuj, India, 2013 Winner – Hunnarshala is a group of architects and engineers that was formed in response to a major disaster in northern India.  It “is based on legitimizing and giving dignity to the building artisan community that has been the repository of so much knowledge….”  They work …

Year of Le Notre

  A year to celebrate Le Notre – 2013 marks 400 years since the birth of Andre Le Notre, the French landscaper who created the gardens of Versailles and whose influence on urban planners and landscape architects continues to this day.  In his honor, the Palace of Versailles has organized …

Piano’s single-room dream

Diogene: A cabin designed by Renzo Piano and RPBW for Vitra – Diogene is a single-room prototype cabin, a minimalist house of 2.5 x 3 meters that “functions completely autonomously as a self-contained system and is thus independent of its environment.” Since his student days architect Piano has been fascinated …

Designers + engineers = better products

      Why Designers and Engineers is a Match Made in Heaven – post about the benefits of designers and engineers collaborating on projects from their inception. Designers and engineers depend on each other to create innovative, trendsetting and sustainable solutions for humanity. Only a few decades ago, the …

Water strategy – what New Orleans can learn from Holland

How the Dutch are Helping New Orleans Stay Dry – excellent 8-min audio interview with New Orleans architect David Waggonner and Netherlands Honorary Consul General Connie Willems about water management and flood mitigation in New Orleans and in the Netherlands.  Even with substantial differences between the two locations – the amount …

Lego Architecture Studio designed by architects

  A Monochrome Lego Set To Teach Tomorrow’s Architects – six architectural firms contributed to the 268-page books that accompanies Lego Architecture Studio, a completely white set of Lego bricks designed to highlight major architectural principles.  Each of the firms – REX Architecture, Sou Fujimoto, SOM, MAD Architects, Tham & Videgård, and Safdie Architects – gets up to …

NYC’s Urban Green on building resiliency

  18 building resiliency proposals at city council – New York’s Urban Green Council, a chapter of USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), has recently released their Building Resiliency Task Force Report.  It consists of 18 post-Hurricane Sandy proposals for “making New York buildings and residents safer and better prepared for …

Shed of the Year

      Shed of the Year: boat-roofed creation sails to victory – annual competition in the UK got almost 2000 entrants this year.  See some of the others at Shed of the Year 2013 entrants. Why sheds?   From Shed of the year contest trumpets UK’s love of garden hideaways: Novelist …

Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

  Video: The making of Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – Wallpaper has a 3:29 min video clip on this year’s pavilion, the result of Fujimoto’s desire to create an ‘architectural landscape’.   ‘The experience is more like a labyrinth but the space is very simple,’ says Fujimoto. Sized more …

Strawscraper, energy from wind

  Stockholm’s strawscraper will produce electricity from thousands of wind-agitated straws – skyscraper addition designed by Belatchew Arkitekter’s Labs studio applies piezoelectric technology via “hair-like material that harvests energy from the wind.” From the architect’s website: The straws of the facade consist of a composite material with piezoelectric properties that can …

Secret of ancient Roman concrete

Ancient Roman Concrete Is About to Revolutionize Modern Architecture – researchers at Berkeley Lab have analyzed the concrete from Roman ruins in 11 Mediterranean harbors and discovered why so many of them are intact despite two thousand years of pounding by the sea.  The composition of that ancient concrete and method …

New issue of ArchiAfrika

  ArchiAfrika Magazine #2 – this second issue covers a wide range of topics, from the cover story on musician Hugh Masakela to African architects at Milan Design Week (shown here) to recycling practices in 6 African cities to community-built compressed-earth block schools in the Dogon to informal housing in Accra …

New passive cooling material for buildings

          New Cooling Technology for Buildings Works In the Full Heat of a Sunny Day – electrical engineers at Stanford have discovered a “metal-dielectric photonic structure” that acts like a mirror to solar light reflecting the Sun’s energy, emits what it reflects within a specific range of …